The Health Services Board (HSB) Executive Director, Ruth Kaseke has proposed that salary negotiations be done before the crafting of the National Budget.
Kaseke was appearing before the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Health and Child Care where she blamed the current negotiating framework for the ongoing industrial actions over salaries. She said:
The current negotiation system is not working as we would have expected because most of our negotiations take off when the Budget has already been announced.
We would like the HSB to consult with workers to be able to peg salaries at certain levels and then input that into the National Budget before it is announced in November.
Kaseke added that the current framework makes it hard for the government to agree to a position that would likely overstretch the already approved national budget.
Meanwhile, the proposed framework can also be problematic if the economy remains inflationary. A regular review of salaries would be the best approach to the situation.
Government workers are demanding salaries in United States dollars or equivalent at the level they were in 2018 when the local currency had the same value as the US dollar.